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  1. The Art of War (Sun Tzu) [update: CH2 Doing Battle, CH3: Planning Attacks, and CH4: Formation]

    #633272013-09-05 21:29:25 *PigBoss said:


    * Chapter 1: Calculations

    * Chapter 2: Doing Battle

    * Chapter 3: Planning Attacks

    * Chapter 4: Formation

    in progress

    * Chapter 5: Force

    * Chapter 6: Weakness and Strength

    * Chapter 7: Armed Struggle

    * Chapter 8: Nine Changes

    * Chapter 9: Army Maneuvers

    * Chapter 10: Ground Formation

    * Chapter 11: Nine Grounds

    * Chapter 12: Fire Attacks

    * Chapter 13: Using Spies


    While at the library a few weeks ago, I've picked up The Art of War by Sun Tzu. The text totals 13 chapters, each of which focuses on an aspect of warfare. The book has been studied by eastern and western military academies, numerous businessmen, law firms, politicians, and even sports. For such a piece of literature to last the test of time (~2500 years) attests to Sun Tzu’s tactical brilliance.

    While the book’s title explicitly states that the book’s theme is war, Sun Tzu has written this book vaguely so that it can be applied to pretty much any type of conflict; The Art of Winning would be a more fitting title for the non-combatant reader.

    The first time I have read this text, I was surprised by Sun Tzu’s willingness to resolve war through rather peaceful means.

    …Generally in warfare:

    If ten times the enemy’s strength, surround them

    if five times, attack them;

    if double, divide them…

    Even with a lopsided advantage, Sun Tzu advocates to display the army’s strength in such a way that the opposition would clearly see the futility of fighting. This not only increases the chance of winning without bloodshed, but the action also gains the trust and respect of the opposing side.

    Throughout the text, he stresses that the goal was victory, and that needless bloodshed can be avoided by the aptitude of a wise general.

    The link above is a free online source to the Art of War. I chose it because of the relatively easy reading and expertise in the translation of the original text.

    I will attempt to make the text more understandable by “translating” it. Comments, questions, corrections, additions, etc… are encouraged.

    Thank you. :3

  2. #633372013-09-06 05:28:38Toku said:

    This seems like a good time for two fairly well read gentleman, @johan_5179 and myself. (Going to bed currently but I'll edit this later to add my own thoughts on my reading of 'The Art of War')

  3. #633402013-09-06 07:28:22Noodle said:

    I love this book. I've read it several times since I use it (among others) as source mateial for my work in progress novel.

  4. #633412013-09-06 07:42:16 *Kirn said:

    Good book that one. Though I am more interested not by what written in the book itself. I mean, sure, it's great stuff and all. But what you have to realize is that this book was used. And you have to realize how it was used.

    Some guy would take the book, read into it really hard and then would interpret it. Like PigBoss. But here's the kicker - after interpreting this here guidelines, some of those guys though "Well, let's go to war and test this stuff!" And they did. That's what I like.

    Forget about black magic books that unleashes demons from hell. If used correctly, this one unleashes humans.

  5. #633452013-09-06 10:32:36InsaneBoredGame said:

    Is this where we start being more pretentious than usual and acting oh-so-superior because we have the ridiculously uncommon ability to read and understand the text?

    Cause I'm seeing it already...

  6. #633472013-09-06 12:19:34DarkChaplain said:


    I will attempt to make the text more understandable by “translating” it. Comments, questions, corrections, additions, etc… are encouraged.

  7. #633702013-09-06 19:55:30 *PigBoss said:

    This text was written ~2500 years ago. Let me remind you that 2500 years is a long time and many changes have been made to the Chinese language. The average Chinese citizen would have a very hard time even reading The Art of War as it was written. The link I posted is one of the better translations of the text, but it takes some time to digest the words of Sun Tzu. If you have already read the Art of War and completely understood it, good for you. If you haven't, it isn't wise to assume things.

  8. #634152013-09-07 23:47:18InsaneBoredGame said:

    Oh my god...

    Could you please be a little less movie villian scientist about this, @PigBoss?

    The average Chinese citizen would have a very hard time even reading The Art of War as it was written.

    And the average native English speaker wouldn't even know what was going on in Beowolf without translations. By average native speaker, I mean pretty much everybody who isn't an expert on Old English.

    That's what the translations for, the pretty link you posted, for people who don't understand Ancient Chinese.

    It was translated so anyone (with at least a US 10th grade reading level, which isn't much to begin with) could understand it. The translation was made with the general public in mind, so please don't assume understand some of the points makes you special.

    And for God's sake, quit overusing the word "wise". You sound like a broken record.

  9. #634172013-09-08 00:22:00InsaneBoredGame said:

    @PigBoss Our youngest active members are around high school age, so I'd guess the average age to be 18-20ish. Not to mention that US standards are notoriously low. If they hand these out to 10th graders (without commentary, just translations), expect any middle schooler (without significant learning disabilities) to understand this stuff.

  10. #634212013-09-08 01:57:35 *PigBoss said:


    Sorry if I came off as a snob. I want to clear some things out.

    There are two reasons for making this thread:

    • 1 To make it known that there is a book called Art of War by Sun Tzu and that I strongly advise users to read it, with or without my help

    • 2 To make an effort of "translating" it for myself (putting it in my own words) because that is how I learn. Posting this thread allows me to teach others as well as re-read and understand Sun Tzu's text.

    I considered your opinions and even put spoilers on my translation.

    For me, reading The Art of War once, twice, or even thrice does not fully help me understand and take to heart all of what the book has to offer.

    Oh. Also, if you could translate Beowulf into modern English for CL, that would be pretty nice. :3

  11. #633482013-09-06 12:21:28Kirn said:

    I would also like to say at this moment that I have red Hagakure. Which is a Japanese guide war samurai. I also red Men with an Axe. Which is a modern Russian guide for people with axes.

  12. #633492013-09-06 12:24:31DarkChaplain said:

    I have read the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer. I know what I'll get executed for thanks to it, and how to feed the grinder.

  13. #634102013-09-07 21:57:24 *PigBoss said:

    Chapter One: Calculation

    Sun Tzu said:

    Warfare is a great matter to a nation;

    it is the ground of death and of life;

    it is the way of survival and of destruction, and must be examined.

    Conflict is important. It can make or break you. You must actively face the conflict and proactively seek to understand it fully.

    Therefore, go through it by means of five factors;

    compare them by means of calculation, and determine their statuses:

    One, Way, two, Heaven, three, Ground, four, General, five, Law.

    The Way is what causes the people to have the same thinking as their superiors;

    they may be given death, or they may be given life, but there is no fear of danger and betrayal.

    The Way (or Tao) represents moral purpose. The strength of purpose in a group defines the tightness of the union. A person with a strong passion has a much higher potential.

    The betrayal does not refer to the people betraying their leaders, but rather the leader betraying his/her people by not acting in the best group interest.

    Heaven is dark and light, cold and hot, and the seasonal constraints.

    Heaven represents the social atmosphere. The moods and attitudes of those around you can impede what you want, much like the weather on a soldier’s motility. While you cannot predict the weather with absolute certainty, you can anticipate the repeating fluctuations of persons and respond appropriately.

    Ground is high and low, far and near, obstructed and easy, wide and narrow, and dangerous and safe.

    The ground represents factors that have been set concrete: written and unwritten law, social norms/customs. While you are not able to successfully manipulate law and culture as you see fit, it very well influences how you’d take on the conflict.

    This factor was important enough that Sun Tzu devoted two entire chapters to Ground (Ch10 Ground Formation and Ch11 Nine Grounds). In them, he not only warns the reader about the perils of each type of “landscape” but also of what they offer.

    General is wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage, and discipline.

    Listed out is the five attributes of an effective leader. If you want the full support and commitment of everyone, you must have wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage, and discipline.

    • Wisdom is your good judgment.

    • Credibility is your good reputation.

    • Benevolence is your good intent.

    • Courage is your good fortitude.

    • Discipline is your good reliability.

    Sun Tzu was a morale person and he stressed that one can only succeed if their actions are motived by these virtues.

    Law is organization, the chain of command, logistics, and the control of expenses.

    The fifth of the five factors is Law, which represents management of strength. In any organization, there must be standards (to regulate policy, work, division of profits, etc). More of this will be covered in chapter 2: Doing Battle.

    All these five no general has not heard;

    one who knows them is victorious, one who does not know them is not victorious.

    Everyone has heard of the five factors, but some choose to ignore them. Had they not ignored the factors, they could have avoided hardships. In order combat conflict, one must examine, understand, and apply the five factors.

    Therefore, compare them by means of calculation, and determine their statuses.


    Which ruler has the Way,

    which general has the ability,

    which has gained Heaven and Ground,

    which carried out Law and commands,

    which army is strong,

    which officers and soldiers are trained,

    which reward and punish clearly,

    by means of these, I know victory and defeat!

    Before taking actions to combat conflict, one must assess the five factors of the situation. You must ask yourself with complete honesty and impartiality when determining the strengths of your and your adversary's forces. This may bruise your ego, but it is better to know that you have a weakness than to remain weak and unaware. Awknowledge of weakness is the first step of progress.

    After meditating on the five factors, you must devise a strategy (an overall plan to reach victory) and supporting tactics (individual actions that supplements your strategy). Victory is acquired when you quickly terminate conflicts and regain harmony. While your "war" may be filled with intense emotions, your plan is based on logic and organization; you can anticipate the endgame even before you take your first action.

    A general who listens to my calculations, and uses them, will surely be victorious, keep him;

    a general who does not listen to my calculations, and does not use them, will surely be defeated, remove him.

    A little bit of history here. Sun Tzu was alive during the late Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BCE) and the Warring States period (475-221 BCE), periods in which Chinese military advisors were hired and fired based on how their individual results. The meritocracy effectively gave rise to the best minds, whose sole job was to find ways to end warfare and resolve conflicts.

    Calculate advantages by means of what was heard, then create force in order to assist outside missions.

    Force is the control of the balance of power, in accordance with advantages.

    Superiority in the five catagories ensures victory, but there are unexpected circumstances that might arise to foil your position. However, having force (overwhelming momentum) helps push through setbacks. It may redefine the "battle" and birth new advantages and weaknesses. Force is discussed in detail in chapter 5.

    Warfare is the Way of deception.

    The idea of deception here is covered in chapter 6. Deception allows "formlessness" which effectively thwarts attacks.

    Therefore, if able, appear unable,

    if active, appear not active,

    if near, appear far,

    if far, appear near.

    Do not give the opposition anything that can be used against you. Control the situation by controlling what the opposition perceives. Psychological warfare is important; indirectly combating the adversary may confuse/overwhelm them, opening up a chance to strike.

    If they have advantage, entice them;

    if they are confused, take them,

    if they are substantial, prepare for them,

    if they are strong, avoid them,

    if they are angry, disturb them,

    if they are humble, make them haughty,

    if they are relaxed, toil them,

    if they are united, separate them.

    To win a "battle," you need an advantage, perhaps a few advantages. Advantage is not absolute in time and space and therefore, initiative to create your own "luck" is vital. Advantage is when one's strength opposed by the opponent's weakness is enough to grasp victory.

    While your opponent might be stronger, victory can be achieved by creating opportunities where they'd least expect it. In order for this to happen, you must cause them to produce errors in their calculation. Permit them to emotionally respond. Irk them when they are calm. Poke holes in their sanity and constitution.

    Attack where they are not prepared, go out to where they do not expect.

    The duality that is found in Sun Tzu's words can be and should be taken literally... but not in every case or every situation.

    The dynamic application of this convention of strategy must be executed with discretion because it depends in part on the mission objectives.

    This specialized warfare leads to victory, and may not be transmitted beforehand.

    Deception depends heavily on formlessness and the element of surprise. Projecting your actions may give the opponent enough time to enact a countermeasure.

    Before doing battle, in the temple one calculates and will win, because many calculations were made;

    before doing battle, in the temple one calculates and will not win, because few calculations were made;

    I'd like to add a bit more to Sun Tzu's words.

    Calculations involve:

    • 1 Numbers

    • 2 Scenarios

    Numbers involve rates (food consumed per day), absolutes (size of the army), as well as probabilities (% chance of ambush if army travels through forest).

    Scenarios are what if assessments. An example would be "what if the war doesn't end in X months?"

    A thorough planning leads to understanding, consensus, and knowledge of risk and reward before the route of action has been taken.

    many calculations, victory, few calculations, no victory, then how much less so when no calculations?

    By means of these, I can observe them, beholding victory or defeat!

    While it is obvious, I'd like to point out that calculations, like anything else, are time-bound and subject to mistakes. Therefore, while it is important to make many calculations, it is imperative to also make correct calculations. Quality and quantity should not be diluted.

    Also, calculations, and the need for more of them, should not paralyze action.

  14. #634122013-09-07 23:20:57PigBoss said:

    Oh. Just keep in mind that I can make mistakes too, and therefore I encourage users to point them out so I can fix them.

    If you have a differing viewpoint on the translation or wish to provide a counter-argument to Sun Tzu's philosophy, do present them. Thank you.

  15. #634192013-09-08 01:03:18Trev said:

    Are you consulting Cleary's translation with footnotes? It's probably my favorite translation of the Art of War, mainly because of the extensive additional commentary.

  16. #634222013-09-08 02:07:32PigBoss said:


    I've read 3 books on the Art of War and the one I liked the most is by Thomas Huynh. (Sonshi is the English transliteration of the Japanese form of the name Sun Tzu) is his website. He has studied the Art of War for approximately 20 years, and to his and his translators' best effort, translated it. Thomas Cleary did write a Preface in the book, and from what I've read from it, I assume that he is very well versed in other Chinese philosophers. I am a bit intimidated by his very extensive notes, but I am sure his book can offer more insight to the book.

  17. #642372013-10-03 19:04:15PigBoss said:

    Chapter Two: Doing Battle

    Conflicts can be resolved without needless "bloodshed" ; only resort to "battle" if there are no other options. End conflict swiftly.

    Sun Tzu said:

    Generally, the requirements of warfare are this way:

    One thousand quick four-horse chariots,

    one thousand leather rideable chariots,

    Look at the big picture. Factor in the cost of confrontation. Don't rush into anything without thinking.

    one hundred thousand belted armor,

    transporting provisions one thousand li,

    the distribution of internal and on the field spending,

    the efforts of having guests,

    The guests Sun Tzu is referring to are friends, allies, and advisors from outside the state who can provide information on the ememy's plan, condition, or location. Likewise, it is important to form a team of "advisors" to make important decisions.

    materials such as glue and lacquer,

    tributes in chariots and armor,

    will amount to expenses of a thousand gold pieces a day.

    Only then can one hundred thousand troops be raised.

    Sun Tzu is asking the reader: are you willing to use your supplies and manpower and willing to pull through into a "war?" If not, consider other options. A half-assed attempt will probably result in failure.

    When doing battle, seek a quick victory.

    A protracted battle will blunt weapons and dampen ardor.

    If troops lay siege to a walled city, their strength will be exhausted.

    If the army is exposed to a prolonged campaign, the nation's resources will not suffice.

    If there is no other option, wage war. However, war must be settled quickly not only to limit costs, but also to prevent exhaustion/loss of morale among his soldiers. When conflict erupts in your personal life, it is imperative to address and resolve it quickly. A lingering unresolved grudge will benefit no one.

    When weapons are blunted, and ardor dampened, strength exhausted, and resources depleted, the neighboring rulers will take advantage of these complications.

    Do not pour all your energy on one conflict. Manage and prepare for conflict in the future.

    Then even the wisest of counsels would not be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

    u gon git #rekt, son.

    Therefore, I have heard of military campaigns that were clumsy but swift, but I have never seen military campaigns that were skilled but protracted.

    No nation has ever benefited from protracted warfare.

    Do not unnecessarily waste time resolving issues.

    Therefore, if one is not fully cognizant of the dangers inherent in doing battle, one cannot fully know the benefits of doing battle.

    Persistance is a positive trait, but only if it aids your endevours. The desired result is the end of warefare, not prolonging needless bloodshed and wasting finite resources.

    Those skilled in doing battle do not raise troops twice, or transport provisions three times.

    Calculate and manage your resources and human power well.

    Take equipment from home but take provisions from the enemy.

    Then the army will be sufficient in both equipment and provisions.

    A nation can be impoverished by the army when it has to supply the army at great distances.

    When provisions are transported at great distances, the citizens will be impoverished.

    When a nation resorts to spending the citizen's wealth to further their military campaign by raising taxes, it leaves the poor, who have the least to give, with the biggest burden. It signifies desperation more than an intelligent approach to conflict. Realize that spending more money alone will not resolve issues immediately.

    Those in proximity to the army will sell goods at high prices.

    When goods are expensive, the citizens' wealth will be exhausted.

    When their wealth is exhausted, the peasantry will be afflicted with increased taxes.

    Sometimes, it is more expensive to move necessary resources to the battlefield; sometimes, it is wise to feed off the enemy's land. Sun Tzu does not believe in plundering and destroying the enemy's citizens. Granting his enemy's citizens safety and respect helps diffuse tension and lessen ill-will. If the war does become successful, the citizens are more apt to conform to their new overlords. Hurting innocents will create backlash.

    When all strength has been exhausted and resources depleted, all houses in the central plains utterly impoverished, seven-tenths of the citizens' wealth dissipated,

    the government's expenses from damaged chariots, worn-out horses, armor, helmets, arrows and crossbows, halberds and shields, draft oxen, and heavy supply wagons,

    will be six-tenths of its reserves.

    War is wasteful in nature. The money, resources, and time used in war could've been applied to further more virtuous activities. Notice that the fractions seven-tenths and six-tenths, which represent the spent citizens' weath and army reserves after a campaign. What little remains is insufficient to send enough troops/equipment/provisions a second time; this explains the need for feeding off the enemy and seeking a quick victory.

    Therefore, a wise general will strive to feed off the enemy.

    One bushel of the enemy's provisions is worth twenty of our own, one picul of fodder is worth twenty of our own.

    Whether the 20 to 1 unit of food ratio was taken literally or metaphorically, Sun Tzu stressed that it is more costly to use your own resources than to use your enemy's resources. While modern technology keeps logistic costs down, the concept of waste is still evident.

    Killing the enemy is a matter of arousing anger in men;

    taking the enemy's wealth is a matter of reward.

    Therefore, in chariot battles, reward the first to capture at least ten chariots.

    Replace the enemy's flags and standards with our own.

    Mix the captured chariots with our own, treat the captured soldiers well.

    This is called defeating the enemy and increasing our strength.

    When the enemy is at a weakened state, you can offer peace. You have a better chance of disarming your enemy and resolving conflict. Instead of angering the prisoners of war, give them a chance to integrate into your ranks, increasing your own power while simultaneously weakening your enemy's power.

    Therefore, the important thing in doing battle is victory, not protracted warfare.

    Therefore, a general who understands warfare is the guardian of people's lives, and the ruler of the nation's security.

    The endgoal is victory. Don't fuck around with the citizen's wealth. Wars don't enhance security; it weakens it by sowing the seeds of future conflicts. A skilled general does not simply win battles but strives to prevent them whenever possible. When your enemy harms you, your aim should not be vengence but a swift resolution. Use your superior strength not to prolong an embittered arms race, but to promote harmony and forgiveness. These acts will fare much better in securing a lasting peace than destroying your enemy completely. A grudge is a timed bomb waiting to explode.

  18. #642382013-10-03 20:33:48PigBoss said:

    Chapter Three: Planning Attacks

    When doing anything, really, you need to craft a plan before you might end up hospitalized or weighed down in unmanageable debt. Don't be an idiot without plan, a'ight?

    Generally in warfare, keeping a nation intact is best, destroying a nation second best;

    Compassion is pragmatic. Learn to spare your enemies. Little good comes from a decimated city and a population that seeks your head on a pole.

    keeping an army intact is best, destroying an army second best;

    keeping a battalion intact is best, destroying a battalion second best;

    keeping a company intact is best, destroying a company second best;

    keeping a squad intact is best, destroying a squad second best.

    The art of war is to keep your enemy intact (may become of some use in the future. The artless practice of war is to destroy your enemy. How close you are to becoming the masterful artist is dictated by where you lie on the sliding scale of destruction.

    Therefore, to gain a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence;

    to subjugate the enemy's army without doing battle is the highest of excellence.

    Now here lies a crossroad where you choose between two paths. On one path, you will win over the praise of your people by winning one hundred battles. The other path leads to the "highest of excellence," that which leaves the ground with no evidence of blood, but you will remain anonymous and forgotten.

    The writer of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew bible makes a similar observation:

    I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed important to me. There was this little city with few people in it. A great king came against it and besieged it, building great siege-works against it. Now there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. So I said, "Wisdom is better than might; yet the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heeded." (Ecclesiastes 9:13-16)

    Therefore, the best warfare strategy is to attack the enemy's plans, next is to attack alliances, next is to attack the army, and the worst is to attack a walled city.

    Laying siege to a city is only done when other options are not available.

    The quality of strategy is inversely proportional to the sum of destruction. Chess analogy: checkmate with the least amount of pieces taken on both sides.

    To build large protective shields, armored wagons, and make ready the necessary arms and equipment will require at least three months.

    To build earthen mounds against the walls will require another three months.

    If the general cannot control his temper and sends troops to swarm the walls, one third of them will be killed, and the city will still not be taken.

    This is the kind of calamity when laying siege to a walled city.

    A hasty all-out charge into a walled city is dumb. Approach the problem meticulously, breaking it down into manageable parts. Solve each problem. Having each problem solved by competent teammates is strongly advised.

    Therefore, one who is skilled in warfare principles subdues the enemy without doing battle, takes the enemy's walled city without attacking, and overthrows the enemy quickly, without protracted warfare.

    His aim must be to take All-Under-Heaven intact.

    Brief history lesson. The people in ancient China believed that heaven, earth, and humankind are interconnected. The direct link between heaven and humankind was the emperor who was legitimized only by the Mandate of Heaven, which demanded he demonstrate his virtue by taking care of his people (referring to the "All-Under-Heaven" concept. The succession of dynasties overturned the corrupt emperors for the more virtuous ones. This concept defines the Way or Tao discussed in chapter 1.

    Therefore, weapons will not be blunted, and gains will be intact.

    Less destruction = more resources and energy preserved.

    These are the principles of planning attacks.

    Generally in warfare:

    If ten times the enemy's strength, surround them;

    if five times, attack them;

    if double, divide them;

    if equal, be able to fight them;

    if fewer, be able to evade them;

    if weaker, be able to avoid them.

    Therefore, a smaller army that is inflexible will be captured by a larger one.

    Fight smart. Use some math. There is no shame or cowardice in avoiding battle if you are weaker. Success in resolving conflict (especially in unprepared circumstances) depends on knowing when to mobilize.

    A general is the safeguard of the nation.

    When this support is in place, the nation will certainly be strong.

    When this support is not in place, the nation will certainly not be strong.

    If you are a general—that is, if you are in a position of power where your actions will greatly affect others around you— it is imperative to understand that your responsibilities transcend personal problems. There is no room for pettiness, arrogance, or fear to take root.

    There are three ways the ruler can bring difficulty to the army:

    To order an advance when not realizing the army is in no position to advance, or to order a withdrawal when not realizing the army is in no position to withdraw.

    This is called entangling the army.

    The emperor is in charge of civil matters. His generals are responsible for military affairs. If the emperor meddles in military affairs which he does not have great knowledge of, it puts the nation at risk.

    By not knowing the army's matters, and administering the army the same as administering civil matters, the officers and troops will be confused.

    By not knowing the army's calculations, and taking command of the army, the officers and troops will be hesitant.

    The general pledges his loyalty to his ruler, but that does not mean he must always obey the ruler. His true loyalty lies in protecting the nation and all the people in it. In small matters, go with the flow, but in important matters, rely on your critical thinking.

    When the army is confused and hesitant, the neighboring rulers will take advantage.

    This is called a confused and hesitant army leading another to victory.

    If you have superior knowledge of the situation, do not heed advise from uninformed teammates.

    Therefore, there are five factors of knowing who will win:

    One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious;

    What prevents you to fight is not caution but arrogance. Overestimating your own strengths = u gon git #rekt, son.

    one who knows how to use both large and small forces will be victorious;

    Know how to manage people.

    one who knows how to unite upper and lower ranks in purpose will be victorious;

    Know how to unite people to a cause.

    one who is prepared and waits for the unprepared will be victorious;

    Use your time wisely.

    one whose general is able and is not interfered by the ruler will be victorious.

    The fifth factor is competance and confidence. Assuming that the general is the one with the most knowledge, he must be steadfast in his words and ways. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Have conviction in your beliefs. Gently persuading others by means of logic or appeal to self-interests will quickly resolve in-group conflicts.

    These five factors are the way to know who will win.

    Therefore I say:

    One who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be in danger in a hundred battles.

    One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes win, sometimes lose.

    One who does not know the enemy and does not know himself will be in danger in every battle.

    Acting out of self-interest or emotion works against your own best interests. Rationally study all aspects of the problem, plan carefully, and act decisively while trying to control damage. This means sometimes inaction is the best course of action until you got your shit together.

  19. #642392013-10-03 21:46:00PigBoss said:

    Chapter Four: Formation

    Formation is more than just a physical position in relation to your enemy; to Sun Tzu, it is the position of invincibility your enemy cannot surmount. This state of invincibility will reduce the number of conflicts you will have to face, because enemies will quickly see the futility of messing with your shit. If an enemy starts messing, you can defend yourself successfully. You cannot fail because you only confront those that are already defeated-- an "easy" victory. Cut weeds before they flower.

    In ancient times, those skilled in warfare make themselves invincible and then wait for the enemy to become vulnerable.

    Being invincible depends on oneself, but the enemy becoming vulnerable depends on himself.

    Therefore, those skilled in warfare can make themselves invincible, but cannot necessarily cause the enemy to be vulnerable.

    Therefore it is said one may know how to win but cannot necessarily do it.

    Defense is hard. Attacking is even harder. Do not overestimate your capabilities; do not underestimate your adversary's forces. If you are weaker, wait. If you are stronger, mobilize. Whatever the situation, you cannot fully control it, and therefore must adapt.

    One takes on invincibility defending, one takes on vulnerability attacking.

    One takes on sufficiency defending, one takes on deficiency attacking.

    The difference between attacking and defending is how much focus and strength you need. When on the defense, you can focus on one area and if you have sufficient strength, you are "invincible." Attacking however requires both offense and defense. The two activities divert focus and therefore you will need even more strength.

    Those skilled in defense conceal themselves in the lowest depths of the Earth, Those skilled in attack move in the highest reaches of the Heavens.

    Therefore, they are able to protect themselves and achieve complete victory.

    Some Chinese lore: dragons hid deep in the earth when dormant, which was most of the time. The few times they weren't asleep, they rose to the heavens, displaying their fearsome power. This display of strength represents invincibility. Armies spend most of their time resting, training, and building strength. When the army is assigned a mission, it moves with alarming swiftness and horrifying power (or at least, it should).

    So, when solving conflicts, don't half-ass your way. Make up your mind and do it without any hesitation.

    Perceiving a victory when it is perceived by all is not the highest excellence.

    Winning battles such that the whole world says "excellent" is not the highest excellence.

    For lifting an autumn down is not considered great strength, seeing the sun and the moon is not considered a sign of sharp vision, hearing thunder is not considered a sign of sensitive hearing.

    Just as it doesn't take refined senses to see the sun and moon in the sky, it takes comparatively less skill to resolve issues once they flare into open conflicts. True skill lies in the ability to detect and resolve issues before they blow up.

    In ancient times, those who are skilled in warfare gained victory where victory was easily gained.

    Therefore, the victories from those skilled in warfare are not considered of great wisdom or courage, because their victories have no miscalculations.

    No miscalculations mean the victories are certain, achieving victory over those who have already lost.

    Achieving an "easy" victory means having the knowledge and the right actions to accomplish diffusing the conflict. This requires heightened sensitivity, which inexperienced generals lack.

    Therefore, those skilled in warfare establish positions that make them invincible and do not miss opportunities to attack the enemy.

    Therefore, a victorious army first obtains conditions for victory, then seeks to do battle.

    A defeated army first seeks to do battle, then obtains conditions for victory.

    Those skilled in warfare cultivate the Way, and preserve the Law, therefore, they govern victory and defeat.

    Being skilled in warfare means having the ability to pick and choose between victory and defeat. Confront problems that you can handle and avoid those you cannot manage. Avoidance is not the same as ignoring the conflict itself. It means giving yourself sufficient time to analyze the problem and taking the necessary steps to resolving it.

    The factors in warfare are:

    First, measurement, second, quantity, third, calculation, fourth, comparison, and fifth, victory.

    Ground is your environment.

    Measurements are derived from Ground,

    From Ground, you can measure the freedoms and constraints of both parties,

    quantities are derived from measurement,

    and from it, you can analyze the freedoms and constraints in a quantitative manner.

    calculations are derived from quantities,

    You have the numbers; plug and chug them into a formula, giving yourself an assessment of how strong or weak each party is.

    comparisons are derived from calculations,

    Weigh the advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses,

    and victories are derived from comparisons.

    and adjust your plans accordingly. From careful planning, your movements are flexible and conform into the shape of the problem. The result is likely victory.

    A victorious army is like a ton against an ounce;

    a defeated army is like an ounce against a ton!

    The victorious army is like pent up waters released, bursting through a deep gorge.

    This is formation.

    A properly formed army is unstoppable. Seek a position such that the overwhelming advantage over your enemy discourages even the thought of confrontation for it is hopeless. In this way, you achieve the highest excellence by stopping conflicts before they initiate- winning without fighting. This is true strength and power!